Chemistry, the science that deals with the properties, composition, and structure of substances (defined as elements and compounds), the transformations they undergo, and the energy that is released or absorbed during these processes.
Chemistry aims to develop students':
- interest in and appreciation of chemistry and its usefulness in helping to explain phenomena and solve problems encountered in their ever-changing world
- understanding of the theories and models used to describe, explain and make predictions about chemical systems, structures and properties
- understanding of the factors that affect chemical systems and how chemical systems can be controlled to produce desired products
- appreciation of chemistry as an experimental science that has developed through independent and collaborative research, and that has significant impacts on society and implications for decision-making
At Aldridge SHS, chemistry is offered in Years 10 through to 12. Year 10 is a course that introduces students to the important foundations that underpin Units 1 and 2 and is essentially a dry run for Year 11. If the student can show proficiency in these units they will be “fast tracked", that is they will be recorded as having finished Year 11 and can then go on to do Units 3 and 4. This means they will have a year to prepare for Year 12.
The course, in Year 10 also introduces students to the types of assessment that they will face in Year 11 and 12, with the focus being on unpacking assessment tasks and the specific marking criteria involved with each piece.
Chemistry, along with all of the senior Sciences, also explicitly teaches the strategies related to responding to the cognitive verbs used in assessment tasks and the subsequent criteria on which the students will be graded.
Why study Chemistry?
Studying chemistry will allow us to live in a more balanced world. Chemistry is usually considered a central science as it brings together our understanding of our internal (bodies) and external (earth) environment while using principles from mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics and medicine. Chemists and biochemists are some of the professions that are always in high demand, especially in today's world. Any high-tech product, bodily function or environmental decision will require the recommendation of a chemist or biochemist.
Facilities, equipment and software:
Students will become trained in using scientific data logging software (Loggerpro – supplied by the school). Here at Aldridge we have a laboratory specifically set up to suit the needs of senior chemistry students.
Units of study:
- Unit 1 and 2 are 15 week units. Units 3 and 4 are 18 week units.
Year 10 and 11, Sem I: Unit 1: Chemical Fundamentals — Structure, Properties and Reactions
In Unit 1, students relate matter and energy in chemical reactions as they consider the breaking and reforming of bonds as new substances are produced. The properties of a material depend on, and can be explained by, the material's structure. A range of models at the atomic and molecular scale enable explanation and prediction of the structure of materials, and how this structure influences properties and reactions.
Year 10 and 11, Sem II: Molecular Interactions and Reactions
In Unit 2, students develop their understanding of the physical and chemical properties of materials including gases, water, aqueous solutions, acids and bases. Students explore the characteristic properties of water that make it essential for physical, chemical and biological processes on Earth, including the properties of aqueous solutions.
Year 12, Sem III: Equilibrium, Acids and Redox Reactions
In Unit 3, students explore the reversibility of reactions in a variety of chemical systems at different scales; acid-base equilibrium systems and their applications; the principles of oxidation and reduction reactions; and the production of electricity from electrochemical cells. Processes that are reversible will respond to a range of factors and can achieve a state of dynamic equilibrium, while contemporary models can be used to explain the nature of acids and bases, and their properties and uses.
Year 12, Sem IV: Structure, Synthesis and Design
In Unit 4, students explore the ways in which models and theories relate to chemical synthesis, structure and design, and associated applications; and the ways in which chemistry contributes to contemporary debate regarding current and future uses of local, regional and international resources. Students focus on the principles and application of chemical synthesis, particularly in organic chemistry, and consider where and how functional groups can be incorporated into already existing carbon compounds in order to generate new substances with properties that enable them to be used in a range of contexts.
Formative assessment – Units 1 and 2: Student Experiment, Data Test, Research Task and Mock External Exam.
Summative assessment – Units 3 and 4: Student Experiment (20%), Data Test (10%), Research Task (20%) and External Exam (50%).
A course of study in chemistry can establish a basis for further education and employment in the fields of forensic science, environmental science, engineering, medicine, pharmacy and sports science.
The current chemistry teachers at Aldridge at the moment are Miss Tammy white, Mrs Theresa Stone and Miss Kate Midgley. Miss White, Mrs Stone and Miss Midgley are all highly trained Chemists and Biochemists who worked in industry laboratories such as Pfizer Pharmaceutical, various Pathology Labs and Biochemical Laboratories, before taking up the teaching profession. Mrs Stone came to us in 2008. Miss Midgley accepted her first teaching post here at Aldridge in 2016, the same year that Miss White also joined us. Miss White is also one of our wonderful psychology teachers.